Danielle Brooks Has an Oscar Nomination. So Why Is She in Mourning?

Was it an interview or an unburdening? As she wiped away tears, Danielle Brooks confessed she couldn’t tell the difference.

“New York Times therapy session, you got me going!” she said, chuckling as she cried.

It was Valentine’s Day, and we had met on a video call to discuss the 34-year-old actress’s first Oscar nomination, for playing the indomitable Sofia in Blitz Bazawule’s big-screen musical, “The Color Purple.” Though she had been too busy filming the “Minecraft” movie in New Zealand to fly to that week’s Oscar nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills, Brooks said she had spent the last few days wrapping her head around the kind of company she now kept.

“It’s been really emotional,” the supporting actress contender said. “There are five African Americans nominated in actor categories this year and only two Black women, and to be one of them means a lot to me.”

This is also the culmination of a long arc that Brooks has experienced alongside “The Color Purple”: As a teenager, she was so blown away by the Broadway musical that it inspired her to pursue acting; later, after shooting to fame as Taystee on the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” she won the role of Sofia in the 2015 stage revival of “The Color Purple.”

Tony-nominated for that turn, Brooks nevertheless auditioned for six months to play the same part in Bazawule’s film. She’s proud of everything she was able to bring to her robust performance, which finds Sofia singing the anthemic “Hell No!” before going through the emotional wringer, imprisoned for refusing to be a white woman’s maid.

“It really did deplete me — physically, mentally, spiritually,” Brooks said. “I was drained at the end of doing this part.”

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